I have two more hours to chant until I finish my current daimoku campaign. I’m very excited about this, and I’m also very excited about the writing conference I’m attending this Saturday. I still need to revise my pitch, my synopsis and a few other things and then I’ll be good to go! John’s brother was visiting this weekend, so we met for dinner at his parents’ house in Gilroy. It was good to see John’s brother and I was able to share with him a little bit about my Buddhist practice. I really believe that this Buddhism is so incredible, but often I’m not able to communicate this very well with other people. I need to work on this!
The voices continue to diminish slowly but surely. I hear almost no yelling anymore, and only occasional whisperings here and there. Not much as to deal with as before. What a big difference! As much as I tried, I never got used to the screaming, yelling and the threatening whispers in my ear. It isn’t something anyone could ever get used to. Still, the more the voices continue to diminish in my life, the more I am able to appreciate the quiet and the stillness that has been gone from my life for so many years. It’s such an incredible calmness that even this afternoon, staring at the reeds and grasses blowing in the wind along the bay brought back memories of when I was younger. I was reminded of a weekend camping/waterskiing trip along the Sacramento Delta with my parents and my two older brothers. We were sitting on the wheat-colored, dry summer grass eating sandwiches and cheese on top of a picnic quilt that my mom had laid out for us to sit on. I stared off silently into the distance, watching the long grasses swaying back and forth in the summer sun. I wondered what it would be like to live off the land, out in the country-side somewhere, far away from civilization as I knew it. Maybe Wyoming? I always imagined living life differently from the way I grew up in the Sunnyvale suburbs. I’m not sure why. I think I took a disliking to other people at an early age, and often daydreamed about living life on my own, perhaps in the wilderness surrounded only by mountains and streams. This never happened. I spent my childhood in Sunnyvale, left to join the Peace Corps and attended graduate school on the East Coast. Eventually I came back, and am now reminded of memories of when I was young.
One of the biggest myths about the human brain is that we only use 10 percent of its capacity. According to scientists, this is a myth that has been promoted over the years by the media and advertisers. If we believe that we really do only use 10 percent of our brain’s capacity, it stands to reason that we could achieve much more throughout the course of our lives if we learned how to access the other 90 percent. Unfortunately, the 10 percent theory really is just a myth, according to Ed Chudler in his article, Myths About the Brain: 10 percent and Counting. There is no undiscovered secret that would allow us to access the unused portions of our brains and boost our potential.
How then can we achieve our highest potential? How can we become greater educators, greater musicians, better readers, skilled engineers, excellent athletes, or achieve whatever dreams and goals we have set for ourselves? I believe that the key to living and achieving our highest potential is to not limit ourselves. So much of what we think, say and do is dictated by others. We constantly compare ourselves to other people, and we allow anything and everything outside ourselves to determine our own happiness. This is especially true for women. Many women define themselves only in relation to men, but women do not exist to please men. We need to believe that the sky is the limit, and that we are capable of whatever we set out to do. Often we are our own biggest critic.
Achieving our highest potential also means not allowing anyone else to dictate the terms of our existence. We aren’t selfish, yet exhibit both compassion and wisdom to lead people toward happiness. Millions of people search for happiness in the wrong place – outside themselves – often in their partners, their jobs, houses, cars, money, drugs, food, and the list goes on. Everyday I have great new ideas of activities I’d like to undertake, stories I want to write, projects I’d love to start, that I think I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do in this lifetime. But I’ll never limit myself, and I”ll always aim to achieve my highest potential.